Tag Archives: postgrad

Hunting in the Concrete Jungle

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Like a lioness in the African pride lands, a post-grad girl spends so many of her days and nights hunting. Hunting for what, you may ask? And I reply, what are we not hunting for? Job opportunities, successful men to date, the perfect brunch spot, a nail salon with a cheap-but-still-clean atmosphere. Recently, the most important thing that I’ve been hunting for is an apartment. And let me tell you. It’s brutal.

ImageMe looking tired while apartment hunting after work last week.

While the hunt for an alpha male is pretty ferocious, I honestly think the hunt for a home in the vast and viciously overpopulated jungle that is New York City is ten times as cut-throat. Pairs of snarling twenty-somethings can be seen salivating over the same shoe-box sized Upper East Side apartment, staring each other down, ready to fight it out to win their territory. You have to be the quickest, the swiftest, ready to pounce at any moment on the prize – because before you know it, it’s gone. Brokers taunt you with listings promising “TRUE 2BR!” or “CLOSE TO SUBWAYS,” only to disappoint you day after day with crappy 5th floor walk-ups on 73rd and York, when all you really wanted was to be somewhere in the vicinity of the express train and a Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s a cruel life for the 23-year-old entry level lion cub trying to move on from her home and start a life all her own out in the wild.

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Actual footage.

All metaphors aside, the process truly is really tough. There are serious trade-offs when you’re moving out for the first time, and I’m smack in the middle of understanding all of that myself right now. Moving out of the basement of my childhood home in Queens has been all I’ve wanted for about 6 months, but it’s not easy. It means meeting with broker after broker, all of whom seem to be halfway reliable at best, and making the uptown-trek a few times a week only to be disappointed at numerous apartments. It means trolling Craigslist and all of the other apartment listing sites every day on your lunch break to stay ahead of the game. “Bidding wars” and “guarantors” become part of your every day vocabulary. It means understanding that the first few months following your eventual move, you’re probably going to live a little less glamorously than you want to – Ramen noodle dinners, cheap wine, and Netflix-filled Fridays on the week that rent is due.

But the upside of the trade-off is that you become this free, independent version of yourself, bounding through the savanna (aka the island of Manhattan) with the rest of your pride (aka your roommate and other broke NYC-residing friends), making frequent stops at local watering holes and pouncing and nuzzling with handsome males…too far?

I’m not there yet, but I’m on my way. And so I know that the process is hard. My advice to fellow post-grads in the same predicament is as follows:

  • Be flexible. Part of this is understanding that your first apartment is probably not going to be your dream apartment. You may have to compromise some of your plans. Not all of them – don’t do that to yourself or you’ll be miserable, but be prepared to give up some things. It might mean walking up two extra flights of stairs to get to the door of your apartment but if it’s a block away from the subway, you’ll thank yourself come wintertime.
  • Be decisive. Know what you want, know what you can and can’t settle for, and act quickly when you find something that fits within your range. If you don’t pounce quickly, someone else will.
  • Be smart. Realize early that rent is only part of the equation. You also need to factor in utilities, transportation, groceries, toiletries, and most importantly, wine. Budget everything out before you decide what you can afford.
  • Be patient. This is the most important of all, and the part I’m struggling the most with. Eventually, you’ll find something. So keeping a good head on your shoulders and not rushing into something rash is crucial. Take it one day at a time, and keep on hunting. Before you know it, you’ll be all settled in, turning your apartment into your home.

Hakuna Matata.

Day 336 – So You’re About To Graduate College…

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Yesterday afternoon, I spent some time browsing my Facebook and Twitter feeds and was overwhelmed by the amount of “Last undergrad class…EVER!” posts and tweets I saw. And I had a few reactions:

1) Congrats on making it to your last class! I slept through mine.

2) I’m not old enough to NOT be the youngest person in the workforce.

3) Where the hell did this year go?

I started this blog almost a full year ago to track my journey through my first post-graduate year and I’m in disbelief that I’m almost at Day 365. (*Note – I clearly did some math wrong along the way because on May 12th, the day after graduation, it will not be day 365. But don’t worry. Those of us in PR don’t really need to know numbers. Or counting.) But I guess I better start believing it, because I’m going to have to stop telling people I “just graduated college” and switched to “I graduated last year” when they ask what I’ve been doing with my life.

Anyways, now that I’m an expert in city life post-college (LOL), I’m gonna share with you youngin’s some fun facts and can’t-miss tips on how to get through year one of post-grad life. This is a compilation of my best advice in one list, SO LISTEN UP!!

10. Never underestimate the importance of Happy Hour.

Because it’s amazing. It’s cheap drinks, it’s handsome business-boys in shirts and ties, it’s like day-drinking sort of cause the sun is sometimes still out – essentially it’s everything I want in one place. Happy Hour becomes the go-to for dates, mini-reunions and hang outs. Because what you’ll come to realize is the “Come over and pregame before we go out on Thursday!” just won’t really excite people anymore, but “Wanna grab a few drinks after work on Thursday?” rolls off the tongue much more nicely.

9. Realize that you’re probably going to gain weight. Get a gym membership.

It starts slow. You start meeting up with friends for “a few drinks after work” a few times a week. You browse Yelp and find some cute new dinner spots. The weather gets cold, and Seamless comes into your life. You start ordering your lunch to the office – delivery. You sit at a desk from 9-5. Since it’s cold, you’re wearing layers. So no one’s noticing those extra pounds. All of a sudden, spring hits and your shorts are quiteeeee a bit tighter than they were last year. Yeah, it happens. Counteract it best you can by joining a gym or at the very least, going for a run once and a while. No matter how much it hurts.

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8. Learn how to budget your money.

Seriously. While my waistline was getting wider because of the above reasons, my wallet was getting thinner. If I had $5 for every time I wished I had taught myself the importance of saving money I wouldn’t have to worry about saving money. Maybe people are just generally better at this than me, but I would’ve loved to, before graduation, have taken like two seconds to remember that a penny earned doesn’t have to immediately become a penny spent.

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7. Visit your Alma Mater at least once (and try not to die while you’re there).

Homecoming. Go to it. Or any other random weekend. Visiting your college in the year following your graduation is like Christmas but better because it’s not cold and everyone actually really excited to see each other! It’s a mini-vacation, the closest thing you’ll get to Spring Break in your post-college career. The sub-point of advice within this point of advice – when drinking, don’t try to keep up with the college kids. Why? See my next point…

6. Drinking is harder. Learn how to adapt.

You’ll need to come to the conclusion on your own that you can’t drink nearly as much as you could in college after a few months at home. Between waking up early to get to work and just getting generally out of drinking shape, your 4-nights-a-week college rage-fests just don’t fit into a post-grads schedule. Instead, embrace new drinking activities, like Brunch, to fill the void left from giving up Tuesday night ladies nights or Thursday night binges. Believe me, being hungover at work is not a condition you want to be in often.

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5. Know that G-Chat is the new Facebook chat.

Yes, being in almost-constant communication with your besties remains important following college. So where group-texts fail (who can deal with their iPhone vibrating on their desk all day long?) and where Facebook reads ‘unprofessional,’ G-Chat becomes convenient and perfectly work-place acceptable. It was the most valuable secret of post-grad life. Inconspicuous chat windows can be disguised as e-mail drafts, all those super-important messages you’re about to send out to clients and colleagues. No one needs to know that it’s really links to your favorite BuzzFeed articles and other NSFW things. It’s a gem. A diamond in the rough. So necessary.

4. Enjoy being single.

Because as much as we all just wanted to settle down with a boyfriend after graduation and through most of the winter months (Oh, that was just me? Okay..), people still generally suck at being in relationships. And that’s okay. There are so many YoPros to meet, so many dates to be gone on, and so many fun things like Grouper to experiment with. It’s the most fun time in our lives to be on our own, going out with our friends, having cocktails with bankers and playing beer pong with fratty guys in “Murray Chill.”

3. Invest in a good set of wine glasses. 

You’re going to need them. “Wine nights” become your Sunday-Wednesday nights after college. You don’t need to schedule them like you used to with the roomies. Instead of, “Hey, anyone want to stay in and just have a few glasses of wine tonight?” the question is, “WHERE IS MY WINE OPENER?!” Wine. Always. Wine.

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2a. Go out a lot.

Explore the city, meet new people, try new drinks. There is more to see…than can ever be seen…more to do…than can ever be done…

2b. Stay in a lot.

It’s okay to stay in more, too. And it’s definitely okay to enjoy staying in. Because after a long day of work, sometimes all you want is to cuddle on the couch with your pup and a glass of wine and watch Game of Thrones reruns on Netflix. Which sounds like an ideal Friday night to me.

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1. Enjoy every minute.

While this year was a change, it was truly a great year. The first year out of college is a journey. You meet a ton of new people, have some incredible experiences, some ups, more downs. You’ll gain weight, you’ll lose weight. You’ll get screwed over by some douche you swore you’d never fall for again and refuse to date a nice guy who’d probably be nothing but amazing to you. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be late to work a few times. But overall, you’ll have a blast. Yes, college was the time of my life, and probably the time of yours too, but the fun doesn’t stop once you move the tassel, I promise. So take advantage of these last few weeks in school, and then feel free to take FULL advantage of the year that lies ahead of you.

Oh, and by the way, CONGRATULATIONS!

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Can’t believe this was a year ago. I miss and love you guys to pieces.

So where does that leave me? A blogger dedicated to exploring one year in post-grad life. I’ve got some ideas….Stay with me and you’ll see how I continue my journey through the blogosphere. 😉 I’m not going anywhere.

Day 309 – F.O.M.O.

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I apologize for my brief hiatus from the blogosphere, but fear not – I have returned. I know you probably are all wondering just what I was doing for the past sixteen days; perhaps you had a bit of F.O.M.O…a Fear Of Missing Out? Well, whether you did or not, developing F.O.M.O. is exactly what I’m going to be blogging about today.

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F.O.M.O. [ F(ear) O(f) M(issing) O(ut)] (Foh-mo) noun 

The condition in which one who is separated from a group of people or a large scale event experiences fear, discomfort, and utter depression due to the misfortune of being unable to partake in events and activities with said group or at said event and understanding this means you will be missing something amazing. May lead to irrational and rash decisions such as last-minute flight bookings, over-drinking, or spontaneous outbursts of hysterical tears at your desk.

I have experienced, and believe I will continue to experience, the worst post-graduate F.O.M.O. symptoms thus far this month. Why? Simply because the month of March for the past few years of my life was always unreal. The bomb diggity. March was…well, Madness, if I may. There was always so much going on, the weather was getting nicer, people would visit and it was essentially a 31-day-long party in my house at school.

First and foremost, as you know from my last post, March to me means Spring Break. It means Las Vegas. It means the Bahamas. It means getting tan and drinking on the beach and dancing all night long and laughing and meeting new people and making questionable decisions that I never really needed to answer for. I just feel like I became the best version of myself on Spring Break. And by the best I mean worst…but it certainly felt like the best. The words “Spring Break” evoke feelings of freedom and excitement and spontaneity… and I’m watching undergrads experience all of it through this cursed channel we call Facebook. I see them prancing around in heels, all sunkissed and smiling, margaritas in hand. And I fear, I do, that I am…missing out. Which I am. Because I’m sitting at a desk doing much less prancing than I was last year down Las Vegas Boulevard, and I’m NOT happy about it!!!!

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This post falls at a very significant time, between two specific weekends which have made my F.O.M.O. much harder for me to deal with – smack dab in the middle of the two weekends of Ultra Music Festival. And goddammit, do people post a lot of pictures/videos of Ultra! (Did I post that many? If so, I’m sorry.) I even get video Snapchats from friends featuring 10-second teasers of the awesome sets I know they’re watching. And I’ll be honest…that’s just evil. And before I go to sleep each night, I whisper all their names to myself in a sort of corrupt prayer like Arya from Game of Thrones hoping all the power in Miami goes out or someone gets a bad case of Scarlet Fever and can’t get to UMF next weekend. It’s not my fault. It’s a side effect of F.O.M.O.

Plus, on top of it all, the changing of the seasons makes me miss last year. Today is officially the first day of Spring (although in NYC it doesn’t really feel like it), and with the Spring comes so many things I want to be doing. I want to be going to baseball games or going to the park or going on boats and outdoor bars or at least wearing flip flops and the worst part of all of it is that other people are. People live in warmer places or are successfully “funemployed” or are still lucky enough to be in school and they are doing all these things…and I am missing out on them.

As post-grads and entry-level employees, this feeling was bound to hit us eventually. It’s a trapping feeling, a sadness; it’s like all you want is for your best friend to drive up to your bedroom window in a flying car and rescue you during the lowest point of your F.O.M.O. and whisk you away.

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But that kind of magic doesn’t apply to most of us, unfortunately. And so we need to find other ways to deal with F.O.M.O. And here is my best advice as to how to get throw these months that we spend playing in traffic while others are playing…everywhere else.

1. Make yourself a short-term bucket list.

Whether it’s a “Spring Bucket List” or “Things To Do In March” document, compile some kind of list of fun things you can do to keep busy. My friends and I have a Google Doc that we’re constantly adding things to so we can try new and exciting places and activities all the time. Definitely helps prevent F.O.M.O. as you’ll be too busy having fun to think about all the better things other people are doing.

2. Stay off social media.

Easier said than done, I know, especially when many of our jobs allow us some prime Facebooking after lunch or ample time to browse our Twitter feeds during the morning commutes. But try to not go through every “SPRiNG BR3AK 20!3” album that gets posted. It’ll only make you feel sad. And fat. And pale. Also, don’t backstalk yourself and remind yourself of all the fun you were having when you were still in college. That’s even worse, because hating past-you is always harder than hating present-anyone-else.

3. Make one really stupid college-kid decision.

Simply so that when you hear some kids telling a story about all the wild and crazy stuff they did over break, you can have one reference you can drop. “Well, don’t worry, we still rage too. Like, you’ll never believe what I did last weekend….” (Insert my behavior over St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Yep.)

4. Then counteract it and do something post-grad-esque and mature.

You’ll feel pretty dumb after your #3 stupid decision, so then do something very post-grad of you. Like trying out this new fancy wine bar or buying yourself a nice new blazer. Remind yourself that being a post-grad is fun, too! You’re not funneling beers on a beach, this is true. But the YoPros go cray for a sexy young thang hitting up Happy Hour in a sleek black blazer…who could pay for her her own drinks, but he’s gonna buy yours anyway. And it’s not gonna be a Natty Light, either. It’ll be a Blue Moon. Classssssssssy.

5. Last but not least, remember that F.O.M.O. is a temporary condition.

And that if you actually went to every party, every concert, every bar, and on every trip that you thought you would “miss out on” by not attending, you would be broke, exhausted, and probably have a horrible immune system. Breathe and relax and take comfort in knowing that you will 100% have a chance to go to some event or take some trip or see some show sometime soon that other people are totally going to miss out on. And you can brag about it all you want.

Keep your head up during these undergrad F.O.M.O. moments, post-grads. While it may be hard, there are bright, shining, wonderful future experiences for those 23 and older somewhere out there waiting for us.